The BBC’s Jewish Problem Isn’t Going Away

Nov. 18 2022

Last year, a group of men surrounded a parked bus carrying Jewish teenagers, banged on the windows, yelled anti-Semitic epithets and threats, made Nazi salutes and obscene gestures, and then chased after it when it began to pull away. The BBC, reporting on the incident, stated that the teenagers had shouted an anti-Muslim slur, or “racial slurs,” at the attackers—although the video of the incident and the subsequent police report make clear no such slurs were uttered. But worse than the falsehood, writes Stephen Pollard, was the network’s unwillingness to admit to it:

Two months later, on January 26, the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit reported [on the coverage of the story]. It, too, refused to concede that the slur was a fiction, but said that “more could have been done” to “acknowledge the differing views . . . on what was said.” Except that the only “differing views” were of what happened and did not happen.

All organizations make mistakes. What matters is how they are corrected. But consistently, the BBC behaves as if it is beyond reproach, as if only those with an agenda or animus against it could possibly find fault. In this case, the BBC’s dogmatic refusal to accept any responsibility, led it to treat the Jewish community itself with contempt, loftily dismissing the pleadings of the chief rabbi and the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, among others, for it to consult evidence and act accordingly.

In response to repeated complaints, Ofcom—the UK’s equivalent of the FCC—conducted an investigation which resulted in the recent release of a damning report. But not much seems to be changing at Britain’s state-sponsored network. Jonathan Sacerdoti notes some all-too-typical examples:

The BBC has broadcast folksongs that glorify attacks on Jews and call for bloodshed. . . . One of the songs, aired on its Arabic language service—which has 36 million viewers—is addressed to Palestinian militants. As translated by the media watchdog Camera Arabic, the song says: “The force in your hand is your right. Don’t leave your weapon in its sheath. . . . From the Jerusalem mountains and from the plain, your blood, should it be shed on the earth, would make red freedom bloom.”

In [another] case, the broadcaster took twelve months to accept an error in a report about holy sites in Jerusalem. Although the BBC acknowledged it, the mistake remains online more than two months later, and is still in place.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anglo-Jewry, Anti-Semitism, BBC

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy